When choosing materials for bathroom remodels, be akamai, or smart. There are many material choices available when remodeling a bathroom, but how do you know what is really best? When choosing materials, it’s best to ask the experts, such as a contractor, architect or home designer with 20-plus years of experience.

When asked about the truth of bathroom materials, Matt Houar, who has been a contractor in Hawaii since 1981 and is the owner of Tropical Wholesale Baths, shared, “The most common materials used to remodel bathrooms are tile, cultured marble, real marble or granite, fiberglass, and acrylic.”


The upside to tile is that there are different types of material patterns, grades, colors and styles. The downside is that it has grout. In Hawaii, because of the humidity and salt-air climate, tile can get a lot of mildew and have maintenance issues. Homeowners should seal tile at least every six months, but most will not, resulting in grout failure and leaks. Also, there are very few really good tile installers, not to mention it can take seven to 10 days to complete an installation.

Cultured marble is a manmade product that was great in the early ’80s, but still works today. So if you want your home to look like the early ’80s, then this is for you. Also, you will have to depend on caulking in all the joints, which will become unsightly and cause a mildew problem.

Real marble or granite are both great as long as they are not knock-offs. The great stone is Italian stone. Unfortunately, the average homeowner is priced out of the market. For example, Houar’s daughter is an Italian stone factory representative and recently shared with him that she sold eight slabs of stone at $10,000 each. This was before fabrication costs were charged.


Fiberglass is a cheap man-made product. You can find it at Home Depot, Lowe’s and other hardware stores. If you have a rental, this is the product for you.

Acrylic is also man-made and a very good product. It can be made into showers, tubs, countertops, and even shower and tub walls. Normally, acrylic is a lifetime product and maintenance is free. This is the product of choice because acrylic is reasonably priced, low maintenance and can look like a million-dollar product. Look into acrylic when remodeling your bathroom.

Keep in mind when choosing material that homeowners also need a good installation team. If you want a good, affordable install, call Tropical Wholesale. The company has the very best factory-trained craftsmen, and it is known for installing quality materials, having quality workmanship and for specializing in tub-to-shower conversions for seniors. The company has a whole safety program and is able to do handi-bars and complete remodeling. Call or visit the showroom for a free quote.

contact // 263-1252 (Windward) • 456-4892 (Leeward) • 593-2000 and 396-0971 (Honolulu)
address // 1352 S. Beretania St. (showroom)
web // twoahu.com